From Femi Oyelola Kaduna
As the world celebrates this year’s World Sickle Cell Day, Founder of Sickle Cell Patients Health Promotion Centre (SCPHPC), Hajiya Badyya Magaji Inuwa has called on governments at all levels to take proactive measures to curtail the high number of children being born with sickle cell anaemia every year.
She made the call yesterday while speaking to the journalists in Kaduna.
According to her, over 350,000 children are born with the disorder yearly and more than 10,000,000 are already living with it.
She expressed dismay at weak approach being displayed by government towards the pandemic.
Hajiya Inuwa said the same concern shown to HIV/AIDS patients, Polio and Tuberculosis should be extended to sickle cell anaemia.
She explained that the lukewarm attitude towards these patients is because sickle cell is a bedroom disease.
“When you see a sickler on the street, he looks like any other human and it is only when they are in crisis you know they have problems.
But the truth is that either they are in the hospital or in their mother’s room, so you hardly see anybody on the street and say he/she is suffering from sickle cell anaemia because he is out of crisis.
“But when you see ten people suffering from polio on the street or HIV/AIDS sympathy is shown to them because of their state. The pathetic thing is that some of them even live longer than sicklers who look healthier,” she said.
On the way forward, Hajiya Inuwa said there was need for massive sensitization and enlightenment campaign on Genotype testing before marriage, saying couples should produce their genotype test before solemnizing their union.
She described parents who deliberately got married when they know that they are in danger of producing sicklers as wicked and ungodly because no love will blindfold you to bring a child to life to suffer, stressing that when you think of love one should also think of the children that will be brought forth from the union.
“If a parent is AS and found a wife of SS or AS, such marriage is not advisable because there are a high percentage of them producing children with SS.”
She tasked religious and traditional rulers to speak out against this practice.
Speaking on 2018 World Sickle Cell Day, she said the SCPHPC Kaduna will organized a sensitization rally along major streets in the town to educate people on the need to go for their genotype test before marriage.
She commended Kaduna State Government for passing the bill on Genotype Test into law, asking other states to follow suit.